Slower, more expensive mail in store for U.S.

By: 
Tonda Rush, National Newspaper Association

The Postal Service is good to go on its plan to slow down the mail and implement aggressive price increases, according to the Postal Regulatory Commission in a pair of decisions handed down this week.

The PRC expressed skepticism about the wisdom of adding an additional day to service standards for both First-Class and Periodicals mail.

But it stopped short of telling USPS not to make the change. Instead, it cautioned USPS to examine its assumptions about cost savings and to look into the root causes of mail slowdowns in recent months.

On a planned increase in postage cost for Periodicals that will average nearly 9%, added to a 1.5% increase earlier this year, the Commission gave USPS a green light and denied pleas by industry groups to hold off on the increase until the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has ruled on the legality of the large price hikes.

However, the Commission did criticize the Postal Service’s treatment of the costs for flat trays as a substitute for mail sacks, urging better cost analysis, as NNA has repeatedly requested.

The Commission has ruled in the past that USPS needs more money, citing trends that have driven mail handling, delivery and transportation costs to accelerate faster than inflation.

"There is little to cheer about in this set of decisions," National Newspaper Association Chair Brett Wesner, president of Wesner Publications, Cordell, Oklahoma, said. "Slower, more costly mail is...

To see more on this story pickup the July 29, 2021 print edition of the LifeEnterprise, Montgomery Messenger or The New Prague Times. 

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